Questions for Written Answer
House of Lords
Lord Laird (UUP)
To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the Procedure Committee's recommendation to the House that Questions for Written Answer be restricted to 12 per Member each week took into account the issue of whether the Government's Answers to Questions for Written Answer are acceptable and do not cause the same Questions to be tabled again; if it did, who monitors the Answers; and if such a process is not in place, whether the committee will give it consideration.
Lord Sewel (Non-affiliated)
The Procedure Committee did not consider this issue, and has no plans to do so.
The Ministerial Code states that "It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament". It also states that "Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest". These general principles are developed in the Cabinet Office guidance to officials on drafting Answers to Parliamentary Questions, which is published online at http://www. cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/guidance-drafting-answers-parliamentary-questions.
Responsibility for monitoring adherence to the Ministerial Code rests with the Government, subject to the general principle of accountability to Parliament. The timeliness of Written Answers is already routinely monitored by the Leader of the House's office; if the noble Lord has concerns regarding the quality of a specific Answer or set of Answers, he may wish to raise them either with the Minister concerned or with the Leader of the House.